Xandria – Neverworld’s End (Napalm Records)

Sunday, 24th March 2013
Rating: 6.5/10

Not sure if we’ve stumbled across such a unabashed Nightwish clone like Xandria. It’s as if the band studied at the pedestal of Tarja, back when she wore flowing dresses and had a similarly-colored microphone to boot. That’swhat Neverworld’s End feels like…it feels a lot like Wishmaster and Century’s Child, minus the brazen symphonic aura the Finns had. Plus, there’s not asong here that could hold a candle to any of Nightwish’s prime works, so consider this a rather null and void release.

Fronted by the very-operatic Manuela Kraller, Xandria stay right within the coloring lines for symphonic metal. A deluge of keyboard swaths and down-tuned guitars comprise of the band’s sound, while Kraller does her best see-me-on-a-balcony-cries, none of which are really that exciting to listen to. The 12songs on Neverworld’s End don’t have the goofy/lullaby edge that Nightwish’s best songs do; rather, these are rather harmless cuts that are both predictable and dull, just reference the up-tempo “The Lost Elysion,” Celtic-inspired “Call of the Wind,” bland balled “A Thousand Letters” and drab “The Nomad’s Crown.”

With Nightwish practically out of the symphonic/opera metal picture, there are several bands gunning for the Finns’ vacated spot. We’ll point to Epica as being the band with the most potential to rightfully fill the spot, and they make Xandria look like a bunch of hacks. In turn, Neverworld’s End is an album that is totally bereft of original ideas, giving further reason to deride the symphonic metal genre and pine for Nightwish’s glory days of yore.

www.xandria.de

(This content originally appeared on Blistering.com)